Khanya Cekeshe 'is very strong' in prison‚ says student activist

Student activists during their walk from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria.
Student activists during their walk from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria.
Image: Supplied

Student activists who participated in an historic walk from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng are planning to hand over a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The activists‚ who have been walking for 15 days‚ are calling on Ramaphosa to free Khanya Cekeshe‚ who is serving a five-year prison sentence for setting a police van alight during the #FeesMustFall protests in 2016.

The delegation is led by Bonginkosi Khanyile.

The group's Philani Nduli said they visited Cekeshe at Leeuwkop prison in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"He is very strong and very grateful for the support he has been receiving from outside. We are hopeful that he will be released‚" said Nduli.

"We are walking from KwaZulu-Natal to show the president the level of seriousness and to raise [awareness of] our pain and suffering."

Some of the group's others concerns listed in their memorandum include unemployment‚ poverty and a demand for free WiFi in public spaces.

The group started their walk in Isandlwana in KwaZulu-Natal on December 18. Along their route they have been welcomed into people's homes.

"We stayed motivated by the issues we saw around when we walked. The poorest of the poor have been opening their houses to us‚ giving us stuff to sleep on the floor and even cooking meals for us‚" said Nduli.

The presidency could not reached for comment on Wednesday.

Justice minister Michael Masutha last year said there would be no blanket exemption from prosecution to students linked to violent #FeesMustFall protests‚ nor would presidential pardons be granted.

Masutha instead offered to guide the students in making applications to the National Prosecuting Authority for a review of prosecutorial decisions in cases of students who have already been charged or who are currently on trial. 

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